This leftie with learning difficulties has felt called upon to comment on the Charleston massacre. Though by itself this is unobjectionable, the nature of Mr Morgan’s comment confirms both his political and intellectual credentials.
The rhetorical device he chose is called anaphora, the deliberate repetition of a phrase at the beginning of successive sentences or paragraphs.
This trick has stood various orators (or demagogues, depending on how one sees them) in good stead, from Churchill with his “We shall fight them…” to Martin Luther King with his “I have a dream…” to Hillary Clinton, who once repeated “it takes…” six times in one sentence – and then started the next one with “It takes…” as well.
Following such illustrious role models, Mr Morgan wrote an article of 26 short paragraphs, each beginning ad nauseam with the phrase “I’m sick…”. (A piece of avuncular advice, Piers, if I may: the phrase isn’t ad nausea, as you seem to think, but ad nauseam – sic. It’s the Latin for till you wanna puke, mate.)
What brought on Piers’s serial bouts of emesis isn’t the gall of the British police who dare investigate editors for phone hacking, and nor is it the rotten taste of the American public whose indifference to some TV chat shows leads to their cancellation.
No, Piers feels sick thinking about 26 different things that all boil down to one: the availability of guns in America. (Another piece of avuncular advice, Piers: rephrasing exactly the same thought 26 times is neither grown-up nor clever.)
Like all intellectual vulgarians, he likes to reduce an extremely complex phenomenon to the simple terms even Daily Mirror readers can understand: If only Dylann Storm Roof had been unable to lay his hands on that .45, the truly sickening carnage wouldn’t have happened.
In what passes for Piers’s mind, the tragedy reflects a primitive equation: availability of guns equals gun crime. The reverse of this is another equation: unavailability of guns equals no gun crime. Oh if only things were as simple as that.
For example, take four New England states, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The first two have liberal gun laws, which is why they have some of the highest gun ownership in the USA.
However, in what Piers would probably dismiss as an inexplicable paradox, Vermont and New Hampshire have the lowest rates of gun assaults in the country.
Connecticut’s gun laws are also quite permissive, and the state’s rate of gun assaults is quite high: 22.46 gun assaults per 100,000 population.
Neighbouring Massachusetts, on the other hand, has some of the tightest gun controls in the world. One would expect the statistics of gun assaults there to be much lower than in Connecticut. In fact, at 30.8 per 100,000, they’re a third higher.
Broadening our scan, the incidence of gun crime in Japan, where firearms are tightly regulated, is extremely low. Yet it’s even lower within the Japanese community in California, where guns can be bought easily.
And in Switzerland, where practically every household possesses an assault rifle and, usually, a handgun or two, they don’t even bother to keep gun crime statistics. There is no gun crime.
All this goes to show that, in conditions of even relative liberty, the state can’t cut the supply of a product, be it guns, drugs or prostitutes, for which there exists a popular demand. Assorted psychos and criminals will always get weapons if they want them, as you can find for yourself by having a pint with a pub landlord somewhere is South London and asking him, “I say, you wouldn’t happen to know someone…”
Getting back to Piers’s adopted land, John Lott in his book More Guns, Less Crime presents an analysis of crime statistics for every US county from 1977 to 2005. His scrutiny of reams of data proves beyond any doubt the truth of his book’s title: the relationship between gun ownership and violent crime isn’t direct but inverse.
Hence blaming guns for gun crime is a factual fallacy, but it’s more than that. In our morbidly politicised world, every piece of data has to have a political dimension, and gun statistics are no exception.
Piers lived in America for a few years, so he had time to cotton on to how the political cookie crumbles there. In America guns are one of the watersheds separating socialists (liberals, in the American misnomer) from conservatives.
As they do in everything else, the lefties rely on sheer demagoguery and fiddling of facts to make their point, and Piers instantly fit in. He knows what a good story is, and he won’t let facts interfere with it.
Never mind that in his own country gun crime almost doubled in the six months following the 1997 bans on firearms. Never mind the mass of incontrovertible data gathered by Lott and other serious researchers. Politics trumps it all.
John Adams once described facts as ‘stubborn things’. The arch-socialist Stalin added an interesting dimension to this adage: “If facts are stubborn things, then so much the worse for facts.”
No doubt the socialist Piers Morgan would agree. Sickening, isn’t he?